Bulldogs rally once again

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

COLLINS &8212; Franklin County&8217;s season seemed to be ticking down along with the clock after Will Keyes&8217;s 16-yard touchdown pass from Maurice Owens gave Collins a 13-10 lead with 2:09 left in the game.

But the Bulldogs wouldn&8217;t let that happen, as they got the ball back and scored on a 41-yard run by quarterback Jamie Collins with 19.9 seconds remaining as they rallied for a 17-13 win over the Tigers Friday night in the third round of the MHSAA Class 3A South State playoffs.

Franklin County, now at 12-1 and ranked No. 2 in all of Class 3A, will take on the winner of the game between defending 3A state champion Hazlehurst and Southeast Lauderdale. Collins, the No. 2 team in Region 8-3A, finished at 9-4.

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Franklin County had a big advantage over the host Tigers on offense &8212; 10 first downs, 269 yards rushing and 310 total yards. Collins, meanwhile, had just five first downs and 139 total yards.

But the Bulldogs had just one first down in the second half before their game-winning drive.

And while Collins, who had 119 yards rushing on 17 carries, was the hero for the Bulldogs, he threw two interceptions, which kept the Tigers in the game. And this was one of his worst passing games of the season as he went 2-of-12 for 41 yards.

The good news for Franklin County was they did not put the ball on the ground.

Franklin County took a 7-0 lead on Alex Smith&8217;s 22-yard run and Jace Carlock&8217;s extra point with 6:54 to go in the first quarter.

But just over three minutes later, Collins responded when Owens connected with Jermaine Keys on a five-yard touchdown pass. Kedrick Clark&8217;s extra point tied the game at 7-7.

The game turned into a defensive battle as neither team was able to score in the second and third quarters. Collins hurt its own cause by turning the ball over four times. Owens threw two interceptions and the Tigers lost both of their fumbles.

Owens did his best to help his team win despite the turnovers as he led the Tigers in rushing with 60 yards on 22 carries and completed five of 16 passes for 43 yards.

Preston Griffith had a solid game on both sides of the ball with 86 yards rushing on 18 carries as well as six tackles and a fumble recovery. AlJoshua Tillman had nine tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. Gary Rogers led the team in tackles with 10 and Mike Hunt had an interception.

And for the second straight week, special teams played a key role in Franklin County&8217;s win.

Carlock gave the Bulldogs a 10-7 lead with a 20-yard field goal with 5:20 remaining in the fourth quarter. And, after Keyes&8217; touchdown catch, Clark missed the extra point, leaving the score at 13-10.